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Ant Cricket - Myrmecophilus oregonensis - female

Ant Cricket - Myrmecophilus oregonensis - Female
Orcutt, Santa Barbara County, California, USA
January 14, 2012
Size: ~3mm
Found with Argentine ants under a board in a residential area

One thing that is apparent when you see them,
is that the more eastern populations - "M. manni" - definitely tend to average a lighter color and the striping, while not exactly bold or strongly contrasting, is usually highly apparent and is one of the first things you notice about them. I think maybe the color runs less yellowish than the pale M. oregonensis as well.

There aren't any "good" M. manni posted on BugGuide yet.

While I haven't seen enough of them to constitute much of a sampling, it is still interesting that I have never seen what look like two different things in the same place (if I had, it might indicate two species). I suspect that there is probably only one species in the U.S., and that the so-called "species" are probably better called subspecies, but I could be dead wrong. Hebard also seemed to have had doubts as to whether they were all different species, but he chose to recognize them as such anyway.

I've probably got M. nebrascensis in my own yard, but I've never bothered to look for it here. I guess I'll try and change that situation this year. After-all, they aren't hard to find, if one just looks for them.

I'm not sure the species distinctions are real,
but M. oregonensis is the only species supposed to be in the area. M. manni is further east not too far away, but should be in more desert-like environments, and is generally lighter in color, often looking a bit banded. I haven't seen many of these, so I don't have a good feel for "real" species limits. This revision by Hebard is helpful, even if rather old.

Moved from Myrmecophilus.

species distinctions
I'm suspicious about the species distinctions as well. I've tried using the Hebard key on specimens that were from well within the described range of either M. oregonensis or M. manni. I found that even the anatomical characters don't seem to hold, let alone colour. Either these are both the same species or their ranges overlap more than has been reported.

M. oregonensis?
Based on range only, this should be Myrmecophilus oregonensis. However, the morphological characters that are supposed to separate the species seem unreliable.